Ray Ellington Quartet
Top to bottom:
Coleridge Goode, Dick Katz,
Lauderic Caton, Ray Ellington
The quartet which drummer Ray Ellington led at the end of the 1940s was a compact unit which succeeded in blending the more melodic aspects of bebop with the kind of music associated with the Nat Cole Trio.
The basic group comprised Ray, pianist Dick Katz (not to be confused with an American pianist of the same name), Coleridge Goode on bass and either Lauderic Caton or Laurie Deniz on guitar.
In 1951, the quartet's profile was raised considerably when it was booked to appear each week on The Goon Show, adding a jazz element which was further increased by the harmonica solos of Max Geldray.
No doubt all this came about because of the jazz interest of Spike Milligan.
Ellington was a fine small-band drummer and an attractive vocalist, while Katz was a hugely underrated pianist with a penchant for Duke Ellington voicings and introductions.
In the summer of 1948 Duke toured Britain as a variety artist (to get around the union ban at the time) accompanied by Ray `Floorshow` Nance and singer Kay Davis.
Esquire recorded Nance with the quartet, which sheltered under the name `The Ellingtonians` for contractual reasons. Nance plays trumpet and violin as well as singing on one track.
The quartet specialised in attractive vocals and occasional novelty songs, but it was all underpinned by an infectious beat and fine solos all round.